History of Juvenile Justice in the United States of America
“It’s amazing what you can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit”
- John Wooden
In 1888 the City of Chicago established the first “parental” court to hear the cases of all dependent, neglected, and delinquent children under the age of 16. The intention was to save young boys from being locked up with “murderers, anarchists, and hardened criminals. To evaluate their circumstances and provide a place where they could prosper. It became the Nation’s first juvenile court.
In 1967 a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision gave juveniles accused of crimes the same due process rights as adults. The case involved Jerry Gault, who at 14 was given a seven-year sentence for a prank phone call.
1974 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 enacted. This Act provided, for the first time, a unified national program to deal with juvenile delinquency prevention and control within the context of the total law enforcement and criminal justice effort. Essentially it created a federal funding source to the states to implement juvenile justice policies and programs on behalf of juveniles and there families involved in the juvenile court process.
These three events over the course of time have had a significant impact on the evolution and maturity of the juvenile justice system in the Nation, and in the state of Nevada.
History of the Nevada Association of Juvenile Justice Administrators (NAJJA)
Juvenile Justice Administrators driven by Family Court protocols, looking to implement effective juvenile policy and programs, proposed the formation of an Association to give them one voice in their business with the State and each other.
Nevada Association of Juvenile Justice Administrators filed as a Domestic Non-Profit Corporation in the State of Nevada on Wednesday, January 24, 1979 and is approximately thirty-six years old, according to public records filed with Nevada Secretary of State.
The corporation was established in 1979 under the name Nevada Association of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers. The first board of directors who conceptualized this organization were:
President Frank Carmon Director of Juvenile Court Services Las Vegas Nevada
Vice President John Gilman Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Nye County Nevada
Sec/Treasurer Nolan Davis Chief Juvenile Probation Officer White Pine County Nevada
Board Director Robert Cavakis Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Humboldt County Nevada
Board Director Bill Lewis Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Carson City Nevada
These gentlemen in 1979 had the insight and wisdom to establish a body of collaborative juvenile justice professionals across the Silver State who could evaluate the juvenile justice systems, and make policy recommendations that would advance the field of juvenile justice in the State of Nevada for years to come.
When these five chiefs developed the “Association” they embraced the following recommendations and direction.
“The Association shall be a non-profit corporation, organized solely for the advancement of civic activities, and for the advancement of State and local interests in the general health, welfare, and wellbeing of the people to be served, with the primary object and purpose of advancing the cause of Juvenile Delinquency Prevention, detection, control and the rehabilitation of the juvenile offender.”
Articles of Incorporation of The Nevada Association of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers January 2, 1979